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Chapter 10, Interpersonal Communication

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Kelsey Burrell

on 24 April 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 10, Interpersonal Communication

Romantic and Family Relationships
Thank you for your attention!
And one more thing...
is here
It's difficult to overstate the significance of our intimate relationships. We may have many close friends and acquaintances, but our relationships with romantic partners and family members are special. We usually invest more, and feel more committed to, romantic and family relationships than others.

The two are also linked in that our idea of the ideal romantic relationship typically stems from the one our parents had.

Today we will examine these relationships and how they relate to interpersonal communication.
The Nature of Intimate Relationships

When we think about the word romance, we often associate the term INTIMACY with it. However, intimacy means much more. It is defined as emotional closeness that we experience in a relationship, whether romantic or not.

Some characteristics of INTIMACY are:
The Nature of Intimate Relationships

1. Intimate Relationships Require Deep Commitment.

Commitment is our desire to stay in a relationship no matter what happens. When we are in a committed relationship, we believe it will last for a long time. This is important because what helps us to survive conflict is that belief that we will survive it.

Let's look at a few examples:
Subject 1
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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

Included in commitment is the idea of EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT which is a sense of responsibility for each other's feelings and emotional well-being.

Also included in commitment is the idea of SOICAL COMMITMENT which motivates us to spend time together, to compromise, be generous with praise and avoid petty conflict.

Finally, there is also LEGAL AND FINANCIAL COMMITMENT which are more formal expressions of peoples feelings for one another.

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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

2. Intimate Relationships Foster Independence, meaning that what happens to one person affects everyone else in the relationship.

Because people in families and romantic relationships depend on one another, one person's actions influence others.

Therefore parents and children are intertwined.

So are romantic partners.


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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

Virtually all relationships have some level of interdependency, what varies is the DEGREE of interdependency you have in your relationships.


If your co-worker at work broke her leg, you might send her flowers. However, you wouldn't offer to offer her round-the-clock care.
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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

3. Intimate Relationships Require Continuous Investment.

Compared with other relationships, intimate relationships usually also have a higher degree of INVESTMENT- that is, the commitment of one's energies and other resources such as time, money and attention.

Research shows that romantic partners are happiest when they feel they are both investing in their relationship to the same degree.
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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

3. Intimate Relationships Spark Dialectical Tensions.

DIALECTICAL TENSIONS are conflicts between two important but opposing needs.

The most common of our DIALECTICAL TENSIONS are:
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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

Autonomy vs. Connection

Autonomy is the feeling of wanting to be one's own person.

Connection is the desire to be close to others.
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The Nature of Intimate Relationships

Openness vs. Closeness

Openness is the desire for disclosure ad honesty.

Closeness is the desire to keep certain facts, thoughts or ideas to one's self.
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The Nature of Intimacy

Predictability VS. Novelty

Predictability is the desire for consistency and stability.

Novelty is the desire for fresh, new experiences.
Communicating in Romantic Relationships

The most intimate of intimate relationships is often the one we share with a romantic partner.

Romantic relationships, especially those that are long-term, engage us in many ways.
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

Marriages and long-term relationships are very important to our health and well-being. Multiple studies have shown, for instance, that married people like longer and healthier lives.

This is because when someone is married they are less tempted to participate in "risky behaviors"

Studies show that married couples drink less than singles and are also less likely to illicit drugs or illegal substances.

There are many ways that marriages are the same, but there are certainly areas where they differ. The most common are:
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

1. Romantic Relationships and Exclusivity.

Monogamy- Being involved with just one person at a time.

Infidelity- Having romantic or sexual intercourse with someone other than your monogamous partner.

Polygamy- One person is married to two or more spouses at a time.
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

2. Romantic Relationships and Voluntariness.

Another common aspect amongst romantic relationships is that they are voluntary.

Meaning that we choose to be in them.

However, research shows that there are a few concrete reasons that people stay in relationships involuntarily:
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

Also not voluntary is the idea of an arranged marriage.

Arranged marriages are common in all of the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa

While we here in the US may not like this concept, people in these parts of the world expect that this is what will happen so they do not object and a lot of the time grow to love their husband or wife.
Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

3. Romantic Relationships and Love

In much of the Western world people view romantic relationships and marriages being based on love.

However, outside of Western Society, there are other reasons people might enter a marriage such as:
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

4. Romantic Relationships and Sexuality

Homosexuals are two people of the same sex in a romantic relationship.

Heterosexuals are two people of the opposite sex in a romantic relationship.

The term DOMESTIC PARTNER is designated for homosexuals that live together.
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Characteristics of Romantic Relationships

5. Romantic Relationships and Permanence.

Most wedding vows around the world all include some statement similar to "Till death do us part."

Since marriage is considered permanent, married couples have privileges such as:

-Spousal privilege
-Medical and burial decisions
-Domestic Violence Protection
-Cohabitation on controlled properties
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Getting In: Forming Romantic Relationships

Researchers have documented that most romantic relationships have the same 5 steps people will follow:

They are:
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Forming Romantic Relationships

1. Initiating Stage
2. Experimenting
3. Intensifying
4. Integrating
5. Bonding
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Forming Romantic Relationships

Differing relational types among romantic couples

Even if people follow the same basic path toward developing their romantic relationships, they won't necessarily end up with the same type of relationships.

Researchers have laid out a few "Proto types" for relationships.
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Forming Romantic Relationships

1. Traditional Couple- These couples take a conventional approach to marriage. They believe in gender-typical divisions of labor in which wives are in charge of the household and childbearing and husbands are responsible for home repair and bringing the income into the home. When conflict arises, traditional couples engage it in rather than avoid it.
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Forming Romantic Relationships

2. Separate Couples are similar to traditional couples but the partners consider themselves autonomous rather than interdependent.They often have their own interests and social networks and they think of themselves as separate. Because they are separate they generally don't have conflict, but when they do they avoid it.
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Forming Romantic Relationships

3. Independent Couples see themselves as being independent of social expectations of marriage. They don't believe in conventional gender roles. They also will approach conflict head on.

Interesting Fact: About half of American couples have differing opinions as to they type of relationship they have.
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

Communication has a profound impact on the following parts of a relationship:

1. Conflict Management- Conflicts in relationships arise from all types of issues including money, how to raise their children and the management of professional obligations. What will influence their relationship is HOW they handle this conflict, rather than HOW MUCH of it they have.

There are four types of couples when it comes to conflict management:
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

Validating Couples- Talk about disagreements openly and cooperatively. They stay calm and they use humor and expression of positive emotion to defuse tension.

Volatile Couples- Also talk about their disagreements, openly but in ways that are competitive rather than cooperative. Each spouse tries to persuade the other to adopt his or her point of view. Conflict tends to be marked with negative rather than positive emotion. However those conflicts are usually followed by intense periods of affection/making up.
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

Conflict-Avoiding Couples- Deal with their arguments indirectly, rather than directly. In order to avoid discomfort they diffuse negative emotions by focusing on their similarities. They often agree to disagree and believe that with avoidance, the issue will just work itself out.

Hostile Couples-Experience frequent and intense conflict. They use negative emotion such as harsh tones of voice.They also engage in personal attacks that include insults, sarcasm, name calling, blaming and other forms of criticism.
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

Interesting Fact:

Research suggests that gay/lesbian couples handle conflict somewhat differently than heterosexual couples. They:

1. Use humor and positive emotion during conflict conversation.
2. Are less likely to become hostile in conflict.
3. Use fewer displays of dominance and power during conflict.
4. Are less likely to take conflict personally.
5. Stay calmer emotionally and physiologically during conflict.
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

2. Romantic Relationships Vary in How They Handle Privacy.

We all have our own feelings about how we want to share our private information with others. The same goes for couples.

Some are like an open book, others are discreet and choose to keep most things to themselves.

This is a choice that every couple must make.
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Interpersonal Communication in Romantic Relationships

3. Romantic Relationships Vary in How Much They Handle Emotional Communication.

In some relationships, things are not spoken about or "dealt" with when it comes to emotion.

In others, emotional displays are fine and even welcomed.

Again this is up to the couples preference.
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Interpersonal Communication In Romantic Relationships

4. Romantic Relationships Vary in How They Handle Instrumental Communication.

Instrumental Communication is used to discuss day-to day topics such as what's for dinner and who is taking out the trash?

Believe it or not, Instrumental Communication is one of the leading causes for couples to engage in conflict over.

This is because these tasks such as child care and cleaning duties NEED to be done and it also represents a balance of power.
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Getting out: Ending Romantic Relationships

There are five stages that a relationship goes through when it ends:

1. Differentiating Stage- Begin to see differences as annoying
2. Circumscribing Stage- The relationships stops growing
3. Avoiding Stage- Distance emotionally and physically
4. Terminating Stage- The grim reaper shows up in the form of Divorce or separation.
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Communication in Families

What Makes A Family???
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Communicating in Families

Researchers have narrowed down the definition of family to include three things across the globe:
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Gentetic Ties
Legal Obligations
Role behaviors
Communicating in Families

Types of Families

1. Family of Origin- The family you grew up in.
2. Family of procreation- The family you start as an adult
3. Blended Family- Adoptions, stepchildren
4. Single-Parent Family- One parent is present.
5. Extended Family- Grandpa, Grandma, Auntie, Cousins etc...
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Communication Issues in Families

There are four issues that families face when it comes to communication:

1. Family Roles- Perhaps in your family you are the "Troublemaker". You may be the "Blamer" or even the "Placeter" or peacekeeper.

What is your role in your families communication?
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Communication Issues in Families

2. Family Rituals- Rituals serve an important part in all families because they reinforce your families values and provide a sense of belonging.

Any Family Rituals to Share?
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Communication in Families

3. Family Stories are often told over and over again so at some point, everyone in the family has heard it. They also give you an idea of what that family is about. (We always stick together)

With the constant retelling of these stories they may also change over time to become more elaborate and "far-fetched".
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Communication Issues in Families

4. Family Secrets can be good and bad. They make all the members feel like they "BELONG" because they are privileged to information others are not.

They can also protect members of the family as well .

However, secrets can be harmful if every member of the family does not agree to keep them.
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Creating a Positive Communication Climate

COMMUNICATION CLIMATE reflects how you feel about the relationship you are in.

There are three important ways we can help improve our relationships climate:

1. Using Confirming Messages and Minimizing Non confirming Messages.

This includes:
Recognition (Basic)
Acknowledgment (Moderate)
Endorsement( Advanced)
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Creating a Positive Communication Climate

2. Avoid Making Other Defensive

Defensiveness is a feeling of excessive concern with guarding oneself to one's ego.

Elevation VS. Descriptive

Elevating Message: This is the worst article you have written.
Descriptive Message: This article has opportunities for improvement.
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Creating a Positive Communication Climate

Control VS Problem Orientation

Control: You can't watch TV right now, I am.
Problem: Let's figure out a way we can both watch what we want

Strategy VS Spontaneity

Strategy: Are you busy this weekend?
Spontaneous: I'm planning a hike this weekend, want to come?

Superiority VS Equality

Superior: You don't know what you are doing.
Equal: That's an interesting approach; I have never thought about it this way.
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Creating a Positive Communication Climate

2. Provide Positive Feedback

Non-evaluating feedback, getting to the issue includes or a reply that withholds assessment : (MEN PAY ATTENTION)

-Offering Support

Evaluating Feedback or a reply that includes assessment:

Constructive Criticism
Subject 53
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